A returned blocked PAT helps Temple to topple UMass 25-23
In their 1st game this season as a favorite, the Temple Owls again went on the road to visit the UMass Minutemen in a non-conference game.
B2b AAC Defensive Player of the Week Tyler Matakevich made his presence known early on ending UMass’ 2nd drive of the game by stuffing Sekai Lindsay for a 4 yd loss on a 4th and 1. UMass does hold them the next drive, and went all the way down to the TU 24 and then once again went for it on 4th and 1. An incomplete pass gave the ball back to Temple.
Both defenses held sway early in this one as neither UMass QB , Blake Frohnapfel nor the Owls P. J. Walker could get any rhythm going.
That was until 1.28 left in the 1st period, when Walker hit WR Adonis Jennings in the end zone for his 1st TD catch of the season. This capped off a 2 play 49 yard drive which also had a long pass to Jahad Thomas who had been bottled up in the run game so far.
A long 1st qtr, w/ many penalties, referee discusions, etc. ended Temple 7 – UMass 0.
After a fumble recovery on the ensuing drive by Matt Ioannidis the Owls increased their lead on a 14 yard rush by Thomas through a wide open middle of the line for a TD to make it 14-0 Owls w/ 13:31 to go in the half
UMass finally converted on a 4th down play in a big way on the next drive w/ the always dangerous Frohnapfel hitting WR Rodney Mills who ran past two Temple defenders to get wide open, for 48 yds to cut the lead in half @ 13:31 of the 2nd qtr.
On UMass next drive they scored again as Temple safety Avery Williams let UMass’ Tajae Sharpe get by him for a 45 yard catch. The Temple D stiffened though in the red zone to hold them to a 24 yd FG by Blake Lucas – his 1st attempt of the season, further cutting down Temple’s lead to 14-10 w/ still just under 7 minutes to go in this interminable half that was already an hour and 3/4’s in real time at that point.
Temple got that back on a drive featuring a 53 yd pass to red-shirt SR WR Robby Anderson, which eventually ended w/ a 34 yd FG by Austin Jones. 17-10 Owls still 2:43 left.
On a drive that started w/ Walker’s 2nd Int of the game, The Frohnapfel to Sharpe show w/ the help of some dumb penalties by Temple, and successful fake FG, led to a game tying TD pass to Mills.
Temple mercifully kneed out the clock and this extended half (almost two hours long) finally came to an end – 17 All. The half was elongated by 11 penalties – just about evenly split – and innumerable referee conferences and replays. It was not a Spaulding Guide 1st half to say the least.
Temple took the opening drive of the 2nd half 55 yards, culminating in a 37 yd Yd FG by Jones, for a 20-17 lead, chewing up 6:21 in the process. Except for one positive run by Thomas for 6 yards that drive, the UMass D really keyed on him and kept from bigger gains on the ground as well as a few TFL’s.
The teams traded multiple possessions after that score as Owl punter Alex Starzyk kept pinning UMass deep w/ pinpoint kicks inside the 20, but the Owls even w/ good field position could not get anything going.
A pick by Stephaun Marshall for the 1st INT by Temple on the day w/ 2:59 to go but much like last week Thomas fumbled late in the game keeping UMass’ hopes alive w/ 2:45 left. UMass then drove 59 yds on 8 plays for a TD pass to Jamal Wilson to go up 23- 20 but then on a blocked PAT, Temple’s Will Hayes returned it for 2 points of their own to make it 23-22 UMass,
Helped by a personal foul call which had UMass kicking off from their own 20, Temple received the ball w/ 1:16 to go at their own 36 and one TO left, only needing a FG to win it.
‘The 7th catch of the day by John Christopher @ the Minutemen 15, set up the Its GOOOOD! moment for the Heart Attack Kids of the Temple Owls, as Jones drills it straight down the middle.
This one ends 25-23 in favor of Temple, possibly keeping their top 25 ranking next week in play.
Temple goes 3-0 for the 1st time in 5 seasons.
P. J. Walker threw his 1st INT of the season @ 12:31 of the 2nd Qtr. but it did not lead to any points by UMass. His 2nd w/ 2 minutes left in the half w/ Temple driving was a lot more costly. Walker finished the game 28-48, 391 yds, 1 TD, hitting 8 different receivers.
Jahad Thomas was pretty much held in check by UMass, 25 rushes for 65 yds and 1 TD, and future opponents will be watching the game films to see how they did it
Temple has next week off and then travels once again to Charlotte on 10/2/15.